Huffpost Chicago

Obama To Stump For Giannoulias, Attend Chicago Fundraiser In October

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The First Family is about to give Illinois Democrats some extra support in a midterm election season that has been rough for the party across the nation.

The First Lady announced last week that she would be coming back to Chicago on October 13th, to raise funds for a number of embattled Democratic candidates. Among them is Alexi Giannoulias, the candidate for her husband's old Senate seat, who is in a neck-and-neck race with Republican Mark Kirk.

Six days later, the President will make his own visit, also to raise funds for Giannoulias. Obama will be in Chicago on October 7th, his second visit to the city to support his former basketball companion Giannoulias, according to the Chicago Sun-Times.

"The president coming here will be great. He'll continue to raise the funds we need to continue to help us with poll numbers we are happy with and create buzz for what will be an incredibly important election," Giannoulias told Fox Chicago.

Obama's last visit to the city was around his birthday. On that trip, he headlined an August 5th fundraiser for Giannoulias.

Earlier in the campaign there had been some doubt as to how strongly Obama would back Giannoulias, Illinois' state treasurer. It was widely reported that the White House sought to recruit Illinois Attorney General Lisa Madigan for the seat; failing that, the White House was largely hands-off during the primary, and appeared lukewarm to Giannoulias after his victory. When Broadway Bank, the Giannoulias family-owned business, collapsed in April, there was speculation in the media that the President's inner circle was trying to nudge the treasurer out of the race.

But "the hug," a double-back-pat embrace followed by a strong endorsement at an event in April, put all that speculation to rest.

Now, with the majority in the Senate hanging in the balance, the President and his wife are clearly pulling out all the stops to support Giannoulias and keep the seat in Democratic hands.

The first lady will also be stumping for three Democratic candidates in hotly contested House races: Rep. Debbie Halvorson, Rep. Bill Foster and candidate Dan Seals.